Julie Court said her employee at Chippewa Falls Chiropractic tried hard, but wasn’t able to do the work.
“My actions were to take care of that employee and that’s why I let her stay at my business for so long,” Court said.
But after getting complaints about the woman’s work, Court fired the employee at the end of a job probation period.
The former worker then applied for, and received, unemployment, a benefit employers pay through unemployment insurance.
Disputed unemployment cases are decided by what the state calls an administrative law judge. That’s an attorney who works for the state who writes a decision.
“The unemployment insurance person told me over the phone that it’s not the fault of the employee that she cannot do the job,” Court told local lawmakers Friday at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Chippewa Falls.
“That’s zero rights as an employer when someone cannot do her job,” Court said.
The session with Georgia Maxwell, executive assistant with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and two local legislators drew 10 people representing businesses.
“I’m not hiring again when I have no rights,” Court said.
She wasn’t alone in telling state Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) and state Rep. Tom Larson (R-Colfax) that.
“I don’t give anybody a benefit of a doubt anymore, which is really unfair,” said Randy Kuhnert of the Red Zone Sports Bar in Lake Hallie.
If workers can’t cut it within two or three days, they should be out of work, Kuhnert said.
“I’ve become an expert on how not to hire people,” he said.
“Unemployment should be for people who need it to support their families. It should not be for people who change jobs, and jobs, and jobs,” Kuhnert said.
Employer confidence is low, said Dan Lytle, coordinator for the Eau Claire County Job Center.
He said the center sees 2,000 people a month.
“There is a reluctance in the job market to get back to work,” he said.
He called a state requirement that job seekers have to do two jobs searches a week to continue receiving unemployment as ridiculous, saying that figure was too low.
“There needs to be significant changes to kind of put a fire underneath their pants,” Lytle said of the job seekers.
“There is a huge false sense of entitlement for people who are collecting the (unemployment) benefit,” he said.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker is proposing several changes to the unemployment system, said Maxwell, a Walker appointee. They include:
-- Changing the number of required weekly job searches from two to four.
-- Reducing the exceptions allowed for quitting a job and receiving unemployment from 18 to 7.
-- adding a tiered system to add a “substantial fault” criteria to fire a worker for misconduct.
But whether those changes can be taken up by the Legislature hinges on the little known 10 member Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council, made up of five labor and five management representatives. For a measure to pass there, it must get the backing of at least eight members. Then it can be sent to the legislature.
Larson, who has owned an electrical business in Colfax for more than 20 years, has appeared before the council. He said they do not change their minds easily.
“They pretty much weren’t interested in what I had to say at all,” Larson said.
Maxwell urged the business owners at the meeting to write or email her with their experiences with the unemployment system.
“This affects lives. This affects people,” she said.
The email for a liaison in Maxwell’s office is: email@example.com.